Fenerbahce appeal Champions League ban

25 August 2011 03:00

Turkish league winners Fenerbahce appealed on Thursday against being banned from Europe's top club football competition over a match-fixing probe.

The Istanbul club's lawyer Haluk Burcuoglu told reporters he had lodged an appeal with the arbitration committee of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).

The federation on Wednesday banned Fenerbahce from entering the Champions League due to the ongoing probe targeting various Turkish clubs, and replaced it in the tournament with league runners-up Trabzonspor.

"This decision has nothing to do with justice," Burcuoglu said. "The TFF does not have the authority to exclude a club from the Champions League."

Last month, some 30 people were charged and jailed pending trial in a probe into alleged match-fixing and bribery in Turkey's first and second divisions last season. Among them is the president of Fenerbahce, Aziz Yildirim.

The TFF said Wednesday that European football's top body UEFA had warned that either Fenerbahce should withdraw from the competition or the TFF should ban the club to prevent UEFA starting its own disciplinary investigation.

The federation's sanction came just a day before the draw for the group stage of the money-spinning tournament on Thursday.

The Turkish sporting press estimated the potential loss to Fenerbahce from missing out on the tournament at 25 million euros. The club's appeal was not expected to succeed.

The UEFA emergency panel said Trabzonspor would in turn be replaced in the Europa League by their opponents in the play-off, Athletic Bilbao.

Source: AFP